Great Egret

Great Egret

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

"Twittering" one of the Original "Twitterers"

We hear a lot about Twitter these days, even if you aren't into social media.

My first experience with 'twitter' occurred long before social media existed. It was back in the early 1970s long before personal computers, cell phones and the like were even in the average persons vocabulary.

I was exploring the dark woods along the Tuliptree Trail of Rondeau. This trail traverses several woodland pools (sloughs) of various widths along the way. It was getting to be dusk, on a warm evening in early June, and there was no wind. There wasn't even the hum of mosquitoes! But there were twittering sounds coming from all directions. I couldn't see what was making that sound, initially, but when one twitter came from very close range, I turned on my flashlight and there it was an Eastern Gray Treefrog!

I was reminded of that experience, and numerous ones like that, just the other day when I was exploring a large patch of milkweed looking for butterflies and dragonflies. There, along the path, was a Common Milkweed with a partially curled leaf, and right in the middle was an Eastern Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor). Although in this example, one could make a case for it being an Eastern 'Green' Treefrog.

Hyla versicolor
One seldom sees them at this level and in these conditions especially during the day. They are often much more hidden. They often are up in the trees and shrubs growing very close to water, feeding on insects. Their sticky toe pads, more visible in this next photo, enable them to climb readily. Sometimes they may be found high up on a building near one of these wetlands.

During the night-time hours, especially in late spring and early summer, they will come down to the water with the purpose of attracting and mating with another. It is especially at those times, that the twittering calls are heard through the forest.

A typical woodland pool along the Tuliptree Trail where these treefrogs are often found.

One of the interesting things about this treefrog, besides their fantastic ability to climb, is that they can change colour! The treefrog in the photos above show how it has come close to the colour of the milkweed leaf it is resting on. The colour change may take several hours to complete. This ability enables them to be very well camouflaged, as this next photo shows. Can you see it?

So there you have it....the Eastern Gray Treefrog is one of the original 'twitterers'! It is one of the most amazing experiences to be out in the wetland forest after dark on a quiet, warm night being serenaded by such creatures.......just another awe-inspiring event in the natural world!

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